Are WSIB’s carrots and sticks enough to encourage supervisor and management support for WSIB procedures?
Like any insurer, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board is interested in reducing the amount of money it spends on claims, and has developed a number of programs to develop safer work environment. Workwell, the Small Business Health and Safety Programs, and safety groups such as the one managed by EMC are examples. They all include financial incentives, and can loosely be described as the WSIB's carrots.
In the last year of the last millennium, Windsor businesses had front-row seats for a WSIB fraud scandal that resulted in penalties of $600,000. Although the case hinged on deliberate actions taken by the company to underreport workplace injuries and their costs, the takeaway is that fines can be and are levied against companies and individuals, and that individuals also risk imprisonment. Those are the WSIB's sticks, and they are pretty big sticks.
Members at our October 19 SIG discussed the fraud case with respect to being proactive in reporting to the WSIB. Training is key to address employee knowledge about what should be reported, when, and how, including training in how fines and charges can affect individuals directly. Participants felt that small organizations in particular faced challenges in educating and enforcing best-practice WSIB reporting, and that communicating the personal risks of doing so incorrectly is an important part of rolling out training.
Members with procedures that were siloed in the HR department were advised by their peers to push the knowledge out to the shop floor as much as possible, and to emphasize that near misses were just as important to report as injuries.
We also discussed how helpful ergonomists are. One organization related how they have an ergonomist onsite every other week to advise on modified work, develop standard work, and assist with training efforts.
Thanks very much to our hosts at Schukra and to the manufacturers who joined us for contributing to lively discussions.
If you find these abbreviated notes intriguing, be sure to sign up early for future SIGs so you can take part in the discussions and get all the details.